Temporal evolution of historic mafic lavas from Fogo, Cape Verde

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


The volcanic Island of Fogo that is situated near the end of the southern island chain in the archipelago of Cape Verde is one of the most active oceanic volcanoes in the world. The purpose of this study was to investigate temporal variations in lavas from Fogo by using whole rock major and trace elements and describe trends in magmatic differentiation, melting systematics and mantle source compositions. Further, for the first time Fogo lavas have been investigated by using 18O isotopes, to test for crustal assimilation and source variations. The time span for this study includes one sample of unknown prehistoric age and then from 1799 and onward all eruptions including the most recent in 2014-2015 are covered.

The Fogo lavas are mafic, alkali rich, porphyritic, basanite-tephrites dominated by clinopyroxene phenocrysts followed by olivine and opaque phases situated within glass and microcrystalline groundmass.  Fractional crystallization and phenocryst accumulation is important mechanisms for magmatic differentiation, and the best result from fractional crystallization modelling gave a crystallizing assemblage of 20.7 % clinopyroxene, 5.4 % olivine, 4.2 % Fe-Ti oxides and 0.8 % apatite. Temporal variations in MgO content reveal a trend that change from more evolved lavas in older historic eruptions, to more primitive compositions in lavas from the middle of the 19th century, back to more evolved compositions in recent eruptions. Oxygen isotopes of glass and microcrystalline groundmass vary within a normal upper mantle range (δ18O = 5.7±0.3 ‰) which rule out any significant crustal assimilation, and the variations observed for the oxygen isotopes are probably related to source variations as there are tendencies towards covariation with source lithology proxies.

Trace element ratios together with high TiO2 contents indicate that pyroxenite is an important source lithology. The Fogo lavas are highly enriched in incompatible elements and utilizing a simple batch melting model suggests ~2-4 % degree of melt for most sampled eruptions. In addition, melting is occurring at high pressures in the presence of residual garnet as the REE are fractionated. Trace element ratios of Ce/Pb and Zr/Y in Fogo lavas are consistent with mixing of a HIMU-like and an EM 1-like mantle source. There are also indications of an increasing involvement of the EM 1-like source through time. Magma mixing is indicated by petrographic observations such as complex zonation patterns and the occurrence of rounded cores in euhedral clinopyroxenes, as well as inferred from a large scatter in certain trace element ratios. 

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